Anatomy Of A Scandal’s Ending Explained

Sienna Miller's new Netflix drama has some major plot twists.

Sienna Miller

by Hanna Woodside |
Updated on

Looking for something to binge watch this Easter weekend? All six episodes of Anatomy of a Scandal arrive on Netflix on the 15 April. The glossy political-thriller-meets-courtroom-drama starring Sienna Miller, Michelle Dockery and Rupert Friend, is executive produced by David E Kelley, the man behind Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers. Just like those shows there are some juicy plot twists in Anatomy of A Scandal. Here's all your questions about the drama, answered.

Is Anatomy of a Scandal based on a true story?

No. While the premise of the drama - a politician accused of sexual misconduct - may feel familiar, Anatomy of a Scandal is actually based on the 2018 novel of the same name by Sarah Vaughan. The TV adaptation is faithful to the plot of the book: James Whitehouse is a charismatic government minister living an enviably perfect life with his beautiful wife Sophie and their two children. Their world is shattered when a member of James' staff, Olivia Lytton, accuses him of rape. Kate Woodcroft is the barrister prosecuting the case in the high-profile court case that ensues, and is determined that he faces justice.

Like the novel, the show flashes back to James and Sophie as Oxford University students, when James was part of a club called The Libertines (loosely based on the real-life Bullingdon Club).

Exploring the themes of consent and privilege, there are some surprising twists along the way...

Who's in the Anatomy of a Scandal cast?

Rupert Friend stars as disgraced politician James Whitehouse, alongside Sienna Miller as his loyal wife Sophie. Michelle Dockery plays prosecuting barrister Kate Woodcroft, and Naomi Scott plays parliamentary aide Olivia Lytton, the woman accusing James of rape.

The cast also features Josette Simon as James' defence barrister Angela Regan; Geoffrey Streatfeild as fictional Prime Minister Tom Southern (who happens to be best mates with James); and Joshua McGuire as Chris the foul-mouthed spin doctor trying to keep the government out of trouble.

What happens at the end of Anatomy of a Scandal?


There are some major plot twists in Anatomy of a Scandal – so stop reading now if you haven’t watched to the end yet. But if you’ve already finished all six episodes and are scratching your head as to exactly what happened, read on.

In the final episode of Anatomy of a Scandal, James Whitehouse is found not guilty of rape, much to the dismay of prosecuting barrister Kate Woodcroft, who was revealed earlier in the series to have been a student at Oxford at the same time that James and his future wife Sophie were studying there. Kate’s real name was Holly but after James assaulted her she left Oxford and changed her name to Kate.

In the end, it’s Sophie who brings James to justice. Knowing that he and his best friend Tom (who is now prime minister) were partly responsible for the death of a fellow student who fell to his death from a building after taking heroin – Tom provided the drugs and James then covered it up and destroyed the evidence – Sophie leaks the long-held secret to the press, knowing that it will ruin their careers and reputation. Having finally seen James for who he really is she leaves him.

Where was Anatomy of a Scandal filmed?

The flashback scenes in the show were filmed on location in Oxford. Meanwhile the front of RSA House, the headquarters of the Royal Society of Arts, stood in for 10 Downing Street (the building was used in The Iron Lady and The Bodyguard too). Some scenes were filmed int he Grand Hall of the Old Bailey, but the actual courtroom was a set built at Shepperton Studios.

How can I watch Anatomy of a Scandal?

All six episodes of Anatomy of a Scandal are available on Netflix from 15 April.

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